As 2016 draws to a close and we move into 2017 – the start of a new year. It is that time of the year, when you get to look back with the mixed feelings on what you did and what you missed out on. No wonder, you didn’t do anything significant this year, like winning some tournament, or a gold medal in the academics. As Kashmir dealt with the worst kind of an outbreak (which was a new season) of unrest in six years. Call it fate, Burhan aftermath, or a disaster. It really pushed us back to the stone age. It will take us years and years altogether to recover from its aftershocks. Of what some will continue to haunt us- flashbacks. It has to be that way, for we have something to chase after. Good or bad, chasing has become an integral part of our lives.
This year, unlike many years–especially when looking at the past six years–was very challenging for the ruling government. Which is a coalition of two parties (PDP & BJP). So called an ‘unholy alliance’ that took power in 2015 after the downfall of the National Conference regime. The ruling party, together with its affiliates, is faced with the largest and longest demonstrations in recent history. Wide protests were last experienced on the aftermath of the 2010 Fake encounter and Qur’an-burning controversy.
The most recent round of protests began in July 2016 and spread across the valley within no time, just after the killing of a local lad— Hizb. Commander Burhan Wani. Like the previous protests, the protests those erupted on and after July 7, resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries as well as detention of thousands. In a similar vein, more or less 200 lost eyesight to pellets. Like Insha, most of them are wearing dark glasses. Colours now mean little to them.
This time, the protests were not limited to towns and their outskirts as it also hit rural areas of the region. In that regard, common men and women as well as students played a very important role in the organization and execution of planned protests. Instead of entertaining the quest in a peaceful manner, the government deployed government security forces to schools and small villages as a result of which many individuals were killed, injured and detained.
The situation today may look different (normal to a naked eye) from that of July 7. But the chase will continue. Some call this chasing – quagmire, or survival of the fittest. Like it or not, we are part of it. Since, it can’t be achieved in two days and three nights. Long term plan becomes a prerequisite. Which is what our leaders should work on this new year 2017. Don’t bite off more than you chew. One big reason for that is you may try to change too many things at once. Changing actions and inactions is hard work. Pick one. Remember, if you succeed at making a change, there is always next year to make another change.
(Gowhar Naz studies Disaster Management at University of Kashmir and hails from Sogam Lolab. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org)